• 64°

Smith grads from DLI

City of Atmore Councilwoman Susan Smith is one of eight Alabama graduates of the Delta Leadership Institute (DLI), according to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

The DLI will collaborate with the Delta Regional Authority’s leadership team to help create jobs, build communities and improve lives across the Mississippi River Delta region and the Black Belt, according to a release from ADECA. The graduation ceremony was held in Kentucky.

Gov. Kay Ivey was selected in 2017 as the DRA States’ co-chairwoman, and showed her support for the local leadership focus in the class.

“I am so proud of these outstanding leaders for taking the time to complete the Delta Leadership Institute,” Ivey said. “Success begins at the local level and it is great to see such dedicated public servants learning new skills, which they will use to help their communities grow. Alabama is only strong because of our strong leadership at the local level. I pledge to do all that I can to support these local leaders in any way I can.”

The 49 graduates, including the eight from Alabama, completed the year-long DLI Executive Academy, a training program that brings together business and community leaders from each of the eight states served by DRA to gain the tools, experiences, and networks that will help them enhance economic opportunities in their communities as well as boost our regional economy.

The graduates have participated in seven workshops over the past year to help them understand the economic development needs of the Delta region, and build a collaborative leadership experience that emphasizes a regional approach to growing local economies and creating opportunities for the 252 million residents of the Delta region. DLI fellows learn from local and regional experts in infrastructure and transportation, small business and entrepreneurship, workforce training, and other economic development fields, experiencing what is working to boost economies in the Delta region.

The eight Alabama graduates represent a diverse group of public and private sector leaders from across industries:

• Carrie Banks, Montgomery, communications director, Alabama League of Municipalities

• Marcus Campbell, Livingston, chairman, Sumter County Commission

• Cedric Campbell, Montgomery, project manager, Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, Inc.

• Winfield Ezell Jr., Northport, CEO, Obsidian Creative Studios

• Darrio Melton, mayor, City of Selma

• Maureen Neighbors, Montgomery, energy division director, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs

• Smith, Atmore, councilwoman, City of Atmore

• Tiffany Smith, Americorps VISTA/Community Needs and Partnership Development, United Way of West Alabama

“I join the Governor in congratulating the Alabama graduates, and I thank them for working toward strengthening opportunities in Alabama’s Black Belt,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “These graduates will join a strong network of alumni, and ADECA look forward to continuing to work with them to address our state’s most pressing issues.”